Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff not expecting to be fully fit before the end of the season

Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has played 13 times for the side this season.

Jan Kirchhoff has told the Chronicle that his fitness is much better now than when he first arrived at Sunderland.

Kirchhoff struggled to make it through 90 minutes when he initially arrived at the Stadium of Light, after suffering from a lack of game time.

The rangy midfielder struggled to break into Bayern Munich’s team prior to his move to Wearside, but he has immediately come into the starting line-up for Sam Allardyce’s men.

The 25-year-old has been vital for Sunderland in their push for survival, and he admits that he still has a little way to go before he feels at the peak of his physical ability.

“My fitness is much better now – you can’t really compare it to my situation from three or four weeks ago,” he said. “It is much easier for me to stay in the game now. I’m feeling good for almost the whole 90 minutes now.

“There’s still a little gap for me to go, but I doubt we’ll be able to get that this season. I hope to improve that next season.”

Kirchhoff has already racked up 13 appearances for Sunderland, and that total only looks set to increase before the end of the season.

The German has excelled since being stationed as a defensive midfielder, and he has offered great protection to the Black Cats’ defence.

Kirchhoff’s fitness looks set to be tested over the remainder of the season, with Sunderland facing the prospect of playing three games in eight games.

The Black Cats take on Chelsea at the weekend, before they face off against Everton and Watford.

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